About Home Theater Lighting Fixtures.
Proper home theater lighting can give you an opportunity to set the mood and atmosphere. Done right, good lighting can really increase the cool factor of your home theater. Here are different lighting options you can use:
Wall sconces: Add a touch of class to your theater by installing wall sconces. These are fixtures that mount on the wall to provide a degree of backdrop lighting.
Wall sconces aren't necessarily intended to flood a room with light the way an over-head fixture can. Rather they help provide a comfortable atmosphere and help set the mood of your home theater.
Some sconces are built with a translucent glass or plastic covering allowing the light to spread throughout the room. Others have a metal shell that reflects the light back onto the wall they're mounted on.
Themed sconces like this one are also available.
Floor-standing lamps: People with dedicated home theaters don't usually use floor-standing or desk lamps probably because it takes away from the fit and finish of an integrated theater setup. They're also not geared to be controlled remotely as you'd have to control the outlet the lamp is connected to.
You won't find many floor-standing lamps shown in images of professional home theater setups. For family rooms on the other hand, lamps can add warmth and offer a traditional and inviting style. The choice is up to you and as everbody knows, there's absolutely nothing wrong with traditional lamps in a home theater.
Recessed lighting: Recessed lights, or pot lights, are designed to be installed inside a ceiling or a soffit enclosure. They direct light downward onto the floor or can be aimed at a wall or another area of a room. Their face sits flush with the ceiling and occupy virtually no space in the room.
Installing a recessed light fixture can be a little tricky depending on your particular situation so you need to do a little planning first. Here's why. There are generally two kinds of recessed lighting fixtures; those for new construction and those for existing construction.
Those for new construction can be placed in an attic ceiling and come surrounded by an aluminum box about 12 inches wide. These boxes and the space inside them provide a thermal barrier allowing insulation or any combustible material to be tucked right up against the light's enclosure. These lights can be placed in such places like attics and in between floors where space is tight. The box itself is usually an add-on and doesn't come with the recessed light fixture.
Recessed lights for existing construction are designed to be slipped into places that are generally not accessible, such as between a pre-existing floor and ceiling. They come with no thermal barrier so they must be placed at least 3 inches away from any combustible material. You'd cut a round hole wide enough to slip the fixture through and secure the fixture with special clips provided by the manufacturer.
Mini, Undercabinet, or Puck Lights: These miniature light fixtures are similar to recessed lights but come in much smaller packages. Placed within cabinets, the can illuminate the contents of a shelfing unit, for example.
The halogen bulbs within these lights generate alot of heat so you should be careful where you install these lights. Recent changes by standards groups such as the Canadian Standard's Association (CSA) recommend these types of lights no longer be recessed within drywall enclosures.
LEDs: The technology behind light-emitting diodes, or LED's, has taken quite a leap in the last few years. The relatively dim light output of previous LED lights meant they've traditionally been stuck to being used in microwave oven, VCR, and car stereo displays.
Nowadays, LED's have become so bright, they can actually replace standard incandescent light bulbs in many different applications. Using very little electricity and generating very little heat, LED's can now be used where regular light bulbs couldn't. Their small size also means they can be build into unusual form factors, like rope lights and cove lighting.
Check out the cool ceiling in this luxury rental in Hawaii.
Track Lighting: Track lighting has its advantages because it allows you to reconfigure the lighting in your home theater quite easily. Gone are the large incandecent bulbs of the 70's, today's track lighting systems use small, low voltage halogen bulbs.
Accent Lighting: Placing a low-voltage light behind a couch or behind your television would generate a beautiful glow that would add ambience to any room, especially a home theater. This will help reduce eye strain because your television will have a sense of depth. Watching a movie in complete darkness can cause eye strain and fatigue so using this technique is a good idea.
Philips introduced a feature called Ambilight to many of their high-definition televisions that provides a warm glow behind the set. Whats cool about it is the light's color changes to match the average color on screen. A scene of a forest would result in a green glow. A sun set nets you a red/orage glow. This feature is sure to be copied which is good since watching television or a movie in complete darkness can tire your eyes.
In-floor path lighting: Most movie theaters have in-floor path lighting to help guide movie-goers to and from the exits while the movie is playing. Adding in-floor lighting can be pretty easy with the right material, but can quickly look ugly and cheezy if overused.
Fiber-optic star ceilings: Now these can be really cool if not a bit pricey. Fiber-optic star ceilings can be purchased in pre-manufactured panels, or as do-it-yourself kits. Light from a high-powered bulb illuminates several hundred fiber-optic strands which are each guided to a tiny hole in the ceiling. A slow moving color wheel at the light source can cause the "stars" to twinkle.
Physical access to the ceiling is usually needed if installing a kit and the installation can be quite long and tiresome, but the result is awesome if the job is done properly. Now these setups don't actually provide enough light to illuminate your theater. They're merely a cool feature that adds extra dimension and is guaranteed to get your friends talking.
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